Sick notes

First, check that you need sick note

Employees only need a doctors’ note (now called ‘Fit Notes’) for illnesses lasting more than seven days.  

This government web page explains more, and also has a link to a downloadable self certification form.

Please don’t request sickness certification for illness lasting seven days or less.  

Can the doctor give me a backdated sick note?

Backdated notes can only be given by a doctor based on a previous assessment.  Government guidance on this case be found on the first page of this document. 

Do I need a ‘return to work’ note?

No.  This is clearly stated on page 8 of the Guidance for Employers and Line managers’ document from the government.

Notes for treatment in hospital 

If you are off work for more than seven days for an illness that has been treated in hospital, either as an inpatient, an outpatient, or in A+E, then you should obtain a note from the hospital doctor responsible for your care.  Some hospital doctors are unaware of this, so we have provided a link here for government advice on this matter.


There is a separate page on our website giving details about Student sickness certification.  Here’s the link. 

‘Fit notes’

If, having read the above information, you feel you do need a note from the GP regarding your fitness to work, these are called ‘Fit notes’ (formerly Med 3) and you will generally need to make an appointment.  Occasionally we can provide a note based on information from a telephone or email consultation.  

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